Numbers 33:4
For the Egyptians buried all their firstborn, which the LORD had smitten among them: upon their gods also the LORD executed judgments.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
33:1-49 This is a brief review of the travels of the children of Israel through the wilderness. It is a memorable history. In their travels towards Canaan they were continually on the remove. Such is our state in this world; we have here no continuing city, and all our removes in this world are but from one part a desert to another. They were led to and fro, forward and backward, yet were all the while under the direction of the pillar of cloud and fire. God led them about, yet led them the right way. The way God takes in bringing his people to himself is always the best way, though it does not always seem to us the nearest way. Former events are mentioned. Thus we ought to keep in mind the providences of God concerning us and families, us and our land, and the many instances of that Divine care which has led us, and fed us, and kept us all our days hitherto. Few periods of our lives can be thought upon, without reminding us of the Lord's goodness, and our own ingratitude and disobedience: his kindness leaves us without excuse for our sins. We could not wish to travel over again the stages we have passed, unless we could hope, by the grace of God, to shun the sins we then committed, and to embrace such opportunities of doing good as we have let slip. Soon will our wanderings end, and our eternal state be fixed beyond recall; how important then is the present moment! Happy are those whom the Lord now guides with his counsel, and will at length receive to his glory. To this happiness the gospel calls us. Behold now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation. Let sinners seize the opportunity, and flee for refuge to the hope set before them. Let us redeem our time, to glorify God and serve our generation; and he will carry us safely through all, to his eternal kingdom.This list was written out by Moses at God's command Numbers 33:2, doubtless as a memorial of God's providential care for His people throughout this long and trying period.

Numbers 33:3-6. For these places, see the marginal reference.

4. upon their gods—used either according to Scripture phraseology to denote their rulers (the first-born of the king and his princes) or the idolatrous objects of Egyptian worship. Upon their gods; either,

1. Their princes and rulers, who are sometimes called gods in Scripture; and so this is added by way of amplification, God slew their first-born; not only of the meaner sort, but even of their king and princes. Or,

2. Their false gods, to wit, those beasts which the brutish Egyptians worshipped as gods, which were killed with the rest, for the first-born both of men and beasts were then killed, Exodus 13:5. See Poole "Exodus 12:12"; See Poole "Exodus 18:11".

For the Egyptians buried all their firstborn, which the Lord had smitten among them,.... Which contributed much to the more easy and safe deliverance of the children of Israel; for their hearts were heavy with sorrow, and their hands were full, and they had other work to do, namely, to bury their dead, than to molest Israel; and besides, they knew it was for detaining them this stroke came upon them:

upon their gods also the Lord executed judgments; they were moved at the presence, and by the power of God, and fell and were dashed to pieces, as the idols of the same land were in later times, see Isaiah 19:1 and this still the more intimidated and frightened the Egyptians, that they dared not attempt to hinder the departure of the Israelites from them. The Targum of Jonathan says, the Word of the Lord did this; and adds, their molten idols became soft, their strong idols were mutilated, their earthen idols were diminished, their wooden idols became ashes, and those of beasts died.

For the Egyptians buried all their firstborn, which the LORD had smitten among them: upon their {b} gods also the LORD executed judgments.

(b) Either meaning their idols, or their men of authority.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 4. - Buried all their first-born, which the Lord had smitten among them. Literally, "were burying (Septuagint, ἔθαπτον) those whom the Lord had smitten among them, viz., all the first-born." The fact that the Egyptians were so universally employed about the funeral rites of their first-born - rites to which they paid such extreme attention - seems to be mentioned here as supplying one reason at least why the Israelites began their outward march without opposition. It is in perfect accordance with what we know of the Egyptians, that all other passions and interests should give place for the time to the necessary care for the departed. Upon their gods also the Lord executed judgments. See on Exodus 12:12, and cf. Isaiah 19:1. The false deities of Egypt, having no existence except in the imaginations of men, could only be affected within the sphere of those imaginations, i.e., by being made contemptible in the eyes of those who feared them. Numbers 33:4The first and second verses form the heading: "These are the marches of the children of Israel, which they marched out," i.e., the marches which they made from one place to another, on going out of Egypt. מסּע does not mean a station, but the breaking up of a camp, and then a train, or march (see at Exodus 12:37, and Genesis 13:3). לצבאתם (see Exodus 7:4). בּיד, under the guidance, as in Numbers 4:28, and Exodus 38:21. למסעיהם מוצאיהם, "their goings out (properly, their places of departure) according to their marches," is really equivalent to the clause which follows: "their marches according to their places of departure." The march of the people is not described by the stations, or places of encampment, but by the particular spots from which they set out. Hence the constant repetition of the word ויּסעוּ, "and they broke up." In Numbers 33:3-5, the departure is described according to Exodus 12:17, Exodus 12:37-41. On the judgments of Jehovah upon the gods of Egypt, see at Exodus 12:12. "With an high hand:" as in Exodus 14:8. - The places of encampment from Succoth to the desert of Sinai (Numbers 33:5-15) agree with those in the historical account, except that the stations at the Red Sea (Numbers 33:10) and those at Dophkah and Alush (Numbers 33:13 and Numbers 33:14) are passed over there. For Raemses, see at Exodus 12:37. Succoth and Etham (Exodus 13:20). Pihahiroth (Exodus 14:2). "The wilderness" (Numbers 33:8) is the desert of Shur, according to Exodus 15:22. Marah, see Exodus 15:23. Elim (Exodus 15:27). For the Red Sea and the wilderness of Sin, see Exodus 16:1. For Dophkah, Alush, and Rephidim, see Exodus 17:1; and for the wilderness of Sinai, Exodus 19:2.
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